A GROUP is calling on the Office of the Solicitor General to begin Supreme Court proceedings to void the appointment of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who is already facing an impeachment complaint.
The Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution, led by lawyer Eligio Mallari, argues that Sereno’s appointment was “void from the beginning” because of her failure to submit all of her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
The group pleaded to Solicitor General Jose Calida to seek quo warranto proceedings in the Supreme Court to oust Sereno from office.
Mallari cited the testimony of Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta and Teresita Leonardo-de Castro before the House Committee on Justice’s impeachment hearings, wherein Peralta said Sereno was only a “de facto chief justice.”
De Castro had told lawmakers Sereno’s appointment was a “grave injustice” to those who complied with the requirement of filing SALNs.
Mallari also pointed out that Sereno flunked the psychiatric test imposed by the Judicial and Bar Council when she applied for the chief justice post.
“Any lawyer worth his salt would tell you that Sereno’s title to the office could be tried in quo warranto proceedings which may be instituted either by the person who claims to be entitled to the office or by the Republic of the Philippines represented by the Solicitor General or a public prosecutor,” Mallari said.
Mallari, who was suspended recently by the high court, said a member of the judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.
“Right now, Sereno’s competence and integrity are under intense public scrutiny. Having scored very low or flunked the psychological test and in view of non-submission of all her SALNs prior to appointment, Sereno’s claim to the position is tenuous, and must be challenged in quo warranto proceedings by the Solicitor General,” he said.
Sereno was named chief justice by President Benigno Aquino 3rd in 2012, replacing Chief Justice Renato Corona who was impeached by Aquino allies for alleged unexplained wealth.